Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Discovering a long discovered

With my recent infatuation with LP's and what a different sound it is (and better) it has opened up a world that was already open. Obviously when searching through piles of records at local thrift and antique stores you come across a lot of the "old standby" repertoire of the classical world. Beethoven, Copland, Mozart, etc... Which has been quite fantastic really. It's one of those things that, as Kris Tiner said to me recently, you own those CDs but how often do you listen to them. Which is absolutely true. So I have been rediscovering all this great symphonic literature from the 19th and early 20th century by the greatest composers and conductors that have ever lived.

But one thing that has really opened my eyes is Bach. Now, of course, Bach has always been there in the background through countless academic courses of Form and Analysis and voice leading chapters and what not, and the appreciation, and admiration of his craft is always an underpinning of the musical thoughts of most people I think, whether they know it or not. But I don't think I have ever truly discovered Bach for myself until now.

I saw a quote by Glenn Gould, arguably the greatest Bach practitioner that has ever lived, saying that there is always a moment in each musicians life when he discovers Bach for the first time. I have heard that quote several times and always just kind of thought "oh that silly Glenn, what a strange and wonderful fellow". But now I think that has actually happened. I always was in the mindset of "oh yeah, Bach and his fugues, what pretty little things... hooray for Bach". But recently I picked up several records of his Well-Tempered Clavier, some keyboard concertos and, my favorites, several records of his organ music. And this has brought me into the world of Bach. Not that I am going to run out and start writing fugues and chorales and so forth, but there is a depth of listening that I have never had before. And now I see that Gould was right after all.

So now I say Hooray for Bach!! and off I go to listen to E. Power Biggs play some beautiful chorales.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Hobbies

In the recent months I have been converting my parent's record and tape collection to the computer for archiving purposes. And in the process I discovered a few things. First off, my folks have the most eclectic taste in music I have ever seen, and second, I have discovered the world of vinyl, and what those purists have been talking about for all these years.

So after this discovery I made a trip to Amoeba and scoured our few local record stores, and even found a nice store over on the coast on vacation, in an attempt to create a small collection for myself of my favorite music from pre-1980. It is quite a daunting world, what labels mean what, and when is mono better than stereo etc... but it has been fun and I have found some really sweet records.

The sound on Vinyl - particularly mono vinyl (The Miles Davis/Gil Evans records in particular) are just so deep and rich. More so than any CD I have ever heard. The analog sound is just better. And I am convinced that, since that is how your brain naturally hears, it makes it literally easier to listen to. Just awesome. Anyway, if anyone has the means to investigate some good records, I highly recommend it. It blew my pre-1980 musical world wide open.